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[blad-er] /ˈblæd ər/
Anatomy, Zoology.
  1. a membranous sac or organ serving as a receptacle for a fluid or air.
  2. urinary bladder.
Pathology. a vesicle, blister, cyst, etc., filled with fluid or air.
Botany. an air-filled sac or float, as in certain seaweeds.
something resembling a bladder, as the inflatable lining of a football or basketball.
an air-filled sac, usually made to resemble a club, used for beatings in low comedy, vaudeville, or the like.
Origin of bladder
before 900; Middle English; Old English blǣddre, blǣdre bladder, blister, pimple; cognate with Old Norse blāthra, dialectal Dutch bladder, German Blatter; akin to blow2
Related forms
bladderless, adjective
bladderlike, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for bladder
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "Both," said Black Tom, scratching his big head, as bald as a bladder.

    The Manxman Hall Caine
  • If Black Tom had not been as bald as a bladder, he would have torn his hair in his mortification.

    The Manxman Hall Caine
  • He worried himself so much in trying to escape that he looked like a bladder.

  • After the blood had accumulated in the cavity of the chest it was removed and put into a bladder.

    The Land of the Long Night Paul du Chaillu
  • And when all of them were tied on, the raft floated like a bladder.

    A Book of Burlesques

    H. L. Mencken
British Dictionary definitions for bladder


(anatomy) a distensible membranous sac, usually containing liquid or gas, esp the urinary bladder related adjective vesical
an inflatable part of something
a blister, cyst, vesicle, etc, usually filled with fluid
a hollow vesicular or saclike part or organ in certain plants, such as the bladderwort or bladderwrack
Derived Forms
bladdery, adjective
Word Origin
Old English blǣdre
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for bladder

Old English blædre (West Saxon), bledre (Anglian) "(urinary) bladder," also "blister, pimple," from Proto-Germanic *blaedron (cf. Old Norse blaðra, Old Saxon bladara, Old High German blattara, German Blatter, Dutch blaar), from PIE *bhle- "to blow" (see blast). Extended senses from early 13c. from animal bladders used for buoyancy, storage, etc.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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bladder in Medicine

bladder blad·der (blād'ər)

  1. Any of various distensible membranous sacs, such as the urinary bladder, that serve as receptacles for fluid or gas.

  2. A blister, pustule, or cyst filled with fluid or air; vesicle.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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bladder in Science
  1. A sac-shaped muscular organ that stores the urine secreted by the kidneys, found in all vertebrates except birds and the monotremes. In mammals, urine is carried from the kidneys to the bladder by the ureters and is later discharged from the body through the urethra.

  2. An air bladder.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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bladder in Culture

bladder definition

A stretchable saclike structure in the body that holds fluids. The term is used most often to refer to the urinary bladder, which is part of the excretory system. Another kind of bladder is the gallbladder.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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